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Human Resources Assistant Job Description, Career as a Human Resources Assistant, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school

Salary: Median—$31,750 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Human resources assistants assist human resources managers or administrators. They provide clerical and technical support in such areas as recruiting, hiring, compensation, and benefits. These assistants gather information on employees' training, skills, wages, promotions, and general work history. They record this information by hand or on a word processor. Then they use the data to update personnel files. Human resources assistants maintain these files and search them for information requested by current and prospective employers and even credit agencies. They also prepare employee reports for managers in the organization.

Those human resource assistants with more training and experience may perform some of a human resource manager's work. They may interview prospective employees, determine benefits, and process dismissals. Human resource assistants often administer and score any required aptitude and personality tests. They may also be responsible for preparing and filing reports of on-the-job accidents and injuries.

Human resource assistant positions may be found in any organization that employs more than a few people. Jobs can be found in business and manufacturing firms, schools of all levels, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers prefer to hire people who have completed high school. Courses in general mathematics, office practices, bookkeeping, basic computer software office applications, and data processing are helpful. Human resources assistants should enjoy detailed work. Training is usually given on the job.

Human resources assistants should enjoy recording numerical data and reading forms. Experienced human resources assistants may have contact with other employees. (Photograph by Kelly A. Quin. Thomson Gale. Reproduced by permission.)

Getting the Job

A student's school placement office may be able to help him or her find a position as a human resource assistant. Job openings are also listed with state and private employment agencies and in newspaper ads and on job Internet sites. If individuals are interested in a government job, they should apply to take the necessary civil service test. They can also apply directly to companies. Those with a large number of employees are most likely to employ human resource assistants. If there is a firm a person would like to work for, he or she should contact the human resource office for an interview. Even if there are no jobs available immediately, a person's application may be kept on file for future openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

With additional training, education, or experience, human resource assistants can advance to other positions in human resource departments. They may become personnel schedulers and human resource specialists. Some may move into supervisory positions. Human resource assistants may choose to move into other clerical positions, such as credit clerk or charge account clerk.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 172,000 people worked as human resource assistants in 2004. Employment was expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The growth of computer use and electronic data transactions will eliminate some human resource jobs, but many openings will be created as personnel clerks leave or advance to other positions. In addition, economic downturns do not always have a negative impact on human resources departments. Companies need human resource assistants to handle the paperwork when employees are laid off.

Working Conditions

Human resource assistants generally work from thirty-five to forty hours per week in pleasant offices. Most of the work is performed while sitting at a desk. These assistants do a great deal of typing and recording of numerical data. Much of their time is spent reading detailed forms. More experienced human resource assistants may have a lot of contact with other employees and should enjoy talking to people.

Where to Go for More Information

American Payroll Association
30 E. 33rd St., 5th Fl.
New York, NY 10016-5386
(212) 686-2030

Office and Professional Employees International Union
265 W. 14th St., 6th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(800) 346-7348

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on the size and location of the office. Human resource assistants earned a median salary of $31,750 per year in 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Human resource assistants with the most experience and those working for large firms earn the highest salaries. Salaries also vary with the amount of responsibility of the position. The benefits that human resource assistants receive depend on the industry in which they work. Benefits include paid holidays, vacations, and health insurance.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHuman Resources